Magnetic materials seem to be a point of confusion for many people. Which metals are magnetic? What makes a metal magnetic?
Mostly, when people ask this question, they’re thinking about precious metals. Is silver magnetic? How can I tell if I have real silver?
Read on to find out more about whether silver is a magnetic metal, how to tell if you have real silver on your hands, and even what magnetism is!
While you’re here, you should check out our range of high-quality 925 sterling silver rings!
Blue Opal Carved Ring
Charisse Vintage Ring
Midi Knuckle 2-Ring Set
What even is magnetism?
When a magnet attracts or repels another magnet or magnetic metal, it’s called magnetism.
There are different kinds of magnetism, but ferromagnetic metals are generally the strongest. These are metals like iron which are strongly magnetic.
Without getting too complicated, metal (like everything) is made up of atoms surrounded by electrons. A magnetic metal occurs when all of the electrons are spinning the same way.
When electrons behave this way, it creates a magnetic field, which causes a magnet to work how it does!
Is silver magnetic?
The quick and easy answer: No, silver is not magnetic. If you hold a magnet to silver, it should not react.
The longer story is more complicated. Silver is actually very weakly magnetic, a type of metal known as diamagnetic. In comparison to ferromagnetic metals, which a magnet can attract, diamagnetic metals are repelled. But only very slightly.
Usually, very fine-tuned and sensitive instruments are necessary to notice the level of magnetism in silver. In everyday life, we can assume that silver is not magnetic.
If your silver jewelry is silver-plated rather than sterling silver, the piece may be magnetic. This all depends on what the core metal is. If the core metal is made from nickel or a nickel alloy, the ring may be magnetic despite being silver plated!
Like silver, gold is very weakly diamagnetic. This means that for everyday purposes, it isn’t magnetic. If you hold a magnet up to a piece of gold, you won’t notice any change.
How to tell if your silver is real
If you’re looking to buy a silver piece (and if you are, you're not alone!), you want to know that you have real silver on your hands. Fake silver and even silver-plated pieces are usually made out of much cheaper metals like nickel which are highly magnetic.
You’ve probably heard of the magnet test. Most precious metals are not magnetic and will not react to a magnet.
Non-magnetic metal includes gold, silver, and even copper. This means you can use a magnet to test whether a silver piece is made of real or fake silver. If the metal is attracted to the magnet, it’s made of ferromagnetic metals and not silver or copper.
If you have real silver on your hands, there will be markings somewhere on the silver jewelry to indicate it. These markings will usually be a number like 800, 900, or 925. This number tells you the level of purity of the silver.
Genuine sterling silver will generally be marked with 925, 925 sterling silver, 925 sterling, or something similar, which indicates that it’s 92.5% silver.
The best type of silver for jewelry
Silver comes in different forms and qualities. Usually, silver in jewelry is combined with another metal to ensure that it’s durable for everyday wear. The quality of the silver depends on what other metal it is alloyed with and the proportion of silver in the alloy.
Three of the main kinds of silver are solid silver, sterling silver, and coin silver.